Lack of available in-home caregivers is one of the most pressing challenges to being able to stay in your home as you age. Your ‘forever home’ can be modified and adapted to be safer. You can keep your social network alive in many different ways especially with all the new technology.  Yet sometime in the future you may need a helper a few hours a week.  Making aging in place work for you may ultimately require being able to get someone else to do some key tasks.

The national average pay rate for an in-home caregiver is 22 dollars per hour.  If they are with an agency, the actual employee receives 10 to 11 dollars an hour with usually no benefits and an uneven work schedule.  The supply as it were of appropriate age caregivers is dwindling already and only going to get worse over the years due to demographics.  

Last year I did a blog: on a company in New York that paid higher wages with more training and support.  Hometeam’s website is still there, but it exists only in New York and it difficult to judge if this new approach remains viable.  I admire the concept that if you elevate the training, the wages and working conditions you will attract more applicants.  However the pool of candidates is still getting smaller even as the aged population grows.

Enter another enterprising business venture that is now scouting for prospective caregivers from a surprising age group. Guess what younger retired boomers, you are being recruited to be that help squad to older seniors. Tasks include mainly simple housework, running errands and  companionship. They even highlight using your previous skill set to provide additional organizational expertise if you are a retired social worker or case manager.  Since it is boomer related, of course it has to have a fancy title – elder concierge services.

Back as always to the New York Times to scoop this new trend:      The interesting part is that these younger old helpers of the older old folks are supposed to be making $22 dollars and up an hour.  How does that work?

It makes sense in that more boomers are still very active and would like being engaged in a positive way.  Many have done similar tasks with elderly parents and and making some extra cash never hurts.  It beats as they say standing behind a counter at the big box store. Demographically the ‘leading edge’ boomers born between 1946 to 1950 are the crest of the age wave and probably the target for this recruitment.

The fact is that many boomers already do this for free for their elders. Church groups and other non profit organizations provide the same services. It also raises the question that when the leading edge boomers are the oldest old and out number the next younger set, what is going to be the solution then? 

Maybe we will go back to having communes and we will take care of each other by sharing resources and caregivers.  Sounds like a overly dramatic and somewhat organic answer?  We as a generation ultimately may be responsible for not trying to go it alone, but rather working for our own common good.